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The Michelin Pilot Challenge is a grand touring and touring car racing series run by the International Motor Sports Association. Originating from the Canadian Motorola Cup, the series was taken over by Grand-Am in 2001 to become the Grand-Am Cup following the demise of rival IMSA's Firehawk series of similar rules in the US. KONI became series sponsor for the start of the 2007 season when the series became known as the KONI Challenge Series, before renaming once more prior to the start of the 2009 season as the KONI Sports Car Challenge. The series name was once again changed for the 2010 season to Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. In 2019, the series rebranded again after Michelin was selected to become the new official tire supplier of the series.[1]

Michelin Pilot Challenge
MichelinPilotChallenge logo.png
CategoryGrand touring
Touring car
Country United States
 Canada
Inaugural season1997
Drivers' championGS: United States Dillon Machavern
United States Dylan Murcott
ST: United States Eric Foss
Teams' championGS: United States RS1
ST: United States Murillo Racing
Makes' championGS: Germany Porsche
ST: Germany Porsche
Official websitemichelinpilotchallenge.imsa.com
Motorsport current event.svg Current season
Competitors in the KONI Challenge on a pre-grid at New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2008

The Continental Challenge was the support series for Grand-Am's premier offering, the Rolex Sports Car Series. In 2014, the series became the support series for the United SportsCar Championship upon the merger of the Rolex Series and the American Le Mans Series.

Contents

RacesEdit

In traditional sports car racing format, the races are often run with both GS and ST classes on track simultaneously, which is known as a "combined" race. Occasionally the races will be run in "split classes", with separate races for both classes. This is especially common for shorter venues such as Lime Rock Park. Currently the races are 2 hours 30 minutes in length with a required driver change.

TelecastsEdit

  • All telecasts are exclusive to Fox Sports 1, formerly Speed Channel. All telecasts are uploaded to the series website after their initial airing.
  • From 2019 season, NBC Sports telecast Delayed-Race and IMSA TV has telecast live via website

VehiclesEdit

The series uses two classes in each race. Originally, these were:

  • The Grand Sport (GS) class features large-displacement 6-cylinder, 8-cylinder, 10-cylinder or 12-cylinder sports cars as well as small displacement 4-cylinder forced induction sports cars.
  • The Street Tuner (ST) class is for smaller 4-cylinder, 5-cylinder or 6-cylinder sedans, hatchbacks, coupes or convertibles.

From 2017, IMSA allowed cars built by "mainstream automotive manufacturers" to SRO GT4 regulations to compete, with a complete phase out of the original Grand-Am GS class the next year. Also in 2018, IMSA introduced TCR Touring Cars as a third class, with the intention of it replacing ST as the second class, which it did in 2019. [2]

The original format was reminiscent of the original Trans-Am Series, combining conventional sports cars and touring cars, though the Trans-Am Series usually had a single driver per car, unlike the Continental Challenge, which has two drivers per car. Some vehicles in the Continental Challenge have actually been painted to resemble the original Trans Am cars, such as the Boss 302 Mustangs of George Follmer and Parnelli Jones or the original Sunoco Camaro. Several vehicles in ST have also competed in the SCCA's Pirelli World Challenge touring car class.

ChampionsEdit

Season GS Champion Car ST Champion Car
2004[3]   Craig Stanton
  Terry Borcheller
Cadillac CTS-V   David Haskell
  Sylvain Tremblay
Mazda RX-8
2005[4]   David Empringham
  Scott Maxwell
Ford Mustang   David Haskell
  Sylvain Tremblay
Mazda RX-8
2006[5]   Anders Hainer
  Boris Said
BMW M3   Don Salama
  Will Turner
BMW 330i
2007[6]   Jeff Segal
  Jep Thornton
BMW M3   Trevor Hopwood
  Adam Burrows
BMW 330i
2008[7]   Joe Foster
  Scott Maxwell
Ford Mustang   Jamie Holtom Chevrolet Cobalt SS
2009[8]   Kenny Wilden Ford Mustang   Chris Miller Honda Civic Si
2010[9]   Charles Espenlaub
  Charlie Putman
BMW M3   David Thilenius[N 1]
  Lawson Aschenbach[N 1]
Honda Civic Si
2011[10]   Paul Dalla Lana BMW M3   Niclas Jönsson Kia Forte Koup
2012[11]   John Farano[N 2]
  David Empringham[N 2]
Porsche 997   Pierre Kleinubing
  Jason Clunie
Mazdaspeed3
2013[12]   Nick Longhi
  Matt Plumb
Porsche 997   Terry Borcheller
  Mike LaMarra
BMW 128i
2014[13]   Trent Hindman BMW M3 Coupe   Eric Foss BMW 328i
Porsche Cayman
2015[14]   Andrew Davis
  Robin Liddell
Chevrolet Camaro   Stevan McAleer
  Chad McCumbee
Mazda MX-5
2016[15]   Billy Johnson
  Scott Maxwell
Ford Mustang GT350R-C   Nick Galante
  Spencer Pumpelly
Porsche Cayman
2017[16]   Dillon Machavern
  Dylan Murcott
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR   Eric Foss Porsche Cayman
2018[17]   Hugh Plumb
  Owen Trinkler
Mercedes-AMG GT4   Devin Jones
  Nick Galante
BMW 328i (F30)

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b The Bimmerworld 328i of Bill Heumann and Seth Thomas and the Compass360 Civic of Thilenius and Aschenbach finished the 2010 season tied in ST points. As both teams had the same number of wins and second-place finishes, Thilenius and Aschenbach won the title by virtue of having more third-place finishes.
  2. ^ a b Matt Plumb was victorious in the final race and was the presumed champion, but upon official review he was determined to have been illegally entered in multiple cars, and thus received no points, handing the championship to Farano and Empringham.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Michelin Pilot Challenge Revealed; Two Classes in 2019 – Sportscar365". Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  2. ^ https://www.imsa.com/news/082016/imsa-finalizes-racing-platform-innovations
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-01-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-06. Retrieved 2016-01-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-01-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-06. Retrieved 2016-01-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-09-16. Retrieved 2014-03-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-01-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-09-16. Retrieved 2014-03-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-09-16. Retrieved 2016-01-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2015-07-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2015-07-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-04-10. Retrieved 2015-07-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-04-15. Retrieved 2016-01-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ http://sportscarchallenge.imsa.com/standings/driver
  16. ^ https://sportscarchallenge.imsa.com/standings/driver
  17. ^ https://sportscarchallenge.imsa.com/standings/driver

External linksEdit